Artist create chalk drawings representing local institutions at CliftonFest on Saturday, October 7, 2017. (Stephen Vonderwish | Staff Photographer)

CliftonFest at Clifton Plaza Friday and Saturday attracted guests of all kinds, celebrating the varied artistic talents and rich culture that the area has to offer.

The weekend-long music and arts festival returned for its sixth year and was once again free for all visitors. The event was created by local residents, business owners, neighborhood sponsors and volunteers to help bring the Clifton community together.

A fundamental feature of CliftonFest has always been the abundance of live music the festival offers, and with two dedicated music stages, this year’s event did not disappoint — it boasted eight diverse musical acts spanning across the two days.

Wrapping up Friday’s musical cast was the Jump ‘n’ Jive Big Band, a 19-piece swing band that energized viewers with their spirited arrangements.

Exemplifying the diversity of Clifton music, Saturday’s musical performances concluded with the rock-reggae band, The Cliftones. Their unique instrumentation and groovy hooks inspired attendees of all ages to let loose and dance.

Music wasn’t the only form of art celebrated at CliftonFest. Two nationally-known 3-D artists, David Zinn and Truman Adams, along with many other local artists, came to share their incredible talent in the form of live art chalk drawings on the sidewalks.

From a shockingly realistic giant grasshopper that guests could “ride” and take photos on, to a vibrant depiction of the Cincinnati city skyline during the day versus the night, the scenes depicted in the exquisite chalk art left many guests speechless.

Junior UC student Sam Payne was among those impressed.

“The sidewalk chalk art was unbelievable,” Payne said. “I’ve seen stuff like that online, but it was really cool to be able to see it in person.”

While the vast selection of music and breathtaking art would be enough to attract many, there was still far more to enjoy at CliftonFest.

The CliftonFest 5K encouraged walkers and runners alike to embrace the hills and race through the city.

The Clifton Chase, a family-oriented race to find clues and complete challenges, spanned the Clifton Plaza to the business district and offered prizes for the winners.

There was even a pet parade in which guests were encouraged to dress up their pets and march into Clifton Plaza, where there were prizes awarded to the winners of various categories.

Senior UC student Lauren Lindley found that while many of the events may not have been targeted toward college students, the community engagement made the festival worth the visit.

“It seems like it was geared more toward older adults and their children, but it was cool to see the community coming together for something,” Lindley said. “I would check it out again next year.”

Other students such as senior Isaac Keller found themselves appreciating the diverse people that the event attracted.

“It was great to see a lot of new faces in Clifton that we normally don’t see,” Keller said.